Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cardboard OCD Chapter 1: Are you a front- or a back-flapper?

Everyone has their quirks.  Everyone has their specialities.  Everyone has their ways of doing things.  We talk about most of them all the time.  But there are some fundamental things that we do without much thought.  Simple tasks or perceptions that are second nature to us, but may be different to others.  Small psychological differences that are interesting when you take a second to think about.

Whenever I get a package or shipment from a trade or online order, I notice how the cards are packaged.  Unless it's a huge lot that is loose in a white box, there are normally team bags that can be wrapped in top loaders or other protective means and attached with clear (Scotch) or painter's tape.

But the most fundamental difference that I see is how the cards are placed in the bags.  Now the attention I'm speaking of usually lasts about three seconds until I open the bag to see what's inside.  I don't actually make it a major point to see which way the stuff is bagged, but in the brief time between pulling them out of the packaging and opening them up, I note how it's done.

There are two, uh, techniques if you will.  One with the team bag flap stuck on the back side of the stack, and one with it stuck on the front. 

I personally prefer the flap in the back.  It's a cleaner presentation.  You can clearly see the card in the front with no interference from the packaging. 

I suppose the front-flap people figure since you're looking at the front of the first card already, you don't have to flip the stack over to open it. 

Like I said, this is all very fundamental and takes much longer to read about then to actually think about when you're doing it.  Some of you are saying "He really needs to get out more..."

So which are you?

Next time... which way is up?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Flooded From The Pacific - An Epic Pack Rip(tide)

Found some old pictures on my computer when I was searching for some others.  They loosely document the results of an eBay auction I won in conjunction with my main trading buddy.  It was not a formal case, but a massive lot of 1994 Pacific baseball.

This was back in the summer of 2008.  We saw the auction and figured neither of us had any, and it was relatively cheap,  we decided to pull the trigger.  I don't remember what the exact purchase price was, and eBay appears to only have records back thru the last couple years.  We had them shipped to me so I was the one that got to open them this time.  I thought that would be great fun.  It was...to a point.  Towards the end I vaguely remember just wanting to be done.

Here's what the box looked like.  My picture file is named Session 1 Box 2, so there may have been two of these.

I cleared my sorting desk and started laying out piles by number.  1994 Pacific Crown Collection is 660 cards with five insert sets.  So that means single digits, tens, twenties, thirties, etc. out to 90's, and then repeat in the next row for the 100's, and so on down to 650's.

Every now and then I'd hit an insert and set it off to the side.  The most common ones were the Prisms.  These are really nice looking, even compared to their Circular retail counterparts.  Prisms come in gold and silver.  Here are the first few to come out.

I apparently needed two sessions to bust all the packs.  The dates of the photos would lead one to believe it took me two months (05 July to early September, with one group in between in early August), but I don't think that's correct.  But they did occupy the desk for a while.

 The progression of the piles!  

The box is dwindling!

The inserts started piling up too!  A few of the All-Latino Team showed up too...

...as well as the most elusive part of this set - the checklists!  Anyone who has this set on their want lists has the checklists on there.  I got pairs of a couple of them, but may have only pulled one full set of four ... which somehow I didn't end up with!

On and on.  Piles grow.  Inserts populate.  Hands grow weary of tearing wax paper....

Until finally ... the last few packs come out of the box(es?).

The light at the end of the proverbial purple and teal tunnel!

Along the way, there were some that were stubbornly stuck.  A great many of them came out with the "snowflake" effect I showed in a previous post.  There were so many duplicates that I was able to find enough decent ones to make two complete base sets and still have a three row monster box of what was left.

I've since only found a couple of the inserts in the wild.  I kept the printout I made of these in my list binder for several years before posting them to my wants website.  They will be there for a long time, I suspect.

Team collectors, player collectors from the early 90s, and set builders who don't mind some occasional minor flaws, hit me up!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Bonus Show Loot - Orioles big hits

Man, I was on a good roll there for a while, but have missed some posts in the last couple weeks.  Ah well.  Onward and upward.  Three day weekend starts now, so I'll try to take time to build a buffer of posts ready to go.

So anyway...

I don't actively collect my local teams (the Orioles and Nationals), but I like to swap any hits I pull for similar cards of local players.  I also occasionally will pick up a really nice looking jersey or autograph that satisfies my aesthetic tastes and wallet impact at the same time if I happen to spot one, even though I generally pass by the "Mojo Hitzzz" tables.  I have very few compared to base and inserts, but when you find a deal, you find a deal. 

I've recently, and quite informally, started a mini-collection of sorts.  (As if I needed to start another niche specialty to add to the relentless hoarding that's already going on!)  I had a couple Adam Jones jersey cards that I had either pulled or swapped for, so I thought why not get a nice one from every year he appears on one?  So I went through the ones I had and it worked out that with those, and a couple nice purchases that I think I documented here at some point.  (I'll show them all at some point)  I'm now down to 2011 and 2013.

Here is the latest addition, covering 2014....

5/9 with a shweet piece of the same shoulder patch that is shown by the photograph.  Triple Threads is generally kinda Cheese Dog City, but this one is particularly well done.  The prismic gold top and bottom scanned more like puke green, but it looks nice in real life. 

I had actually been looking for this particular dealer since I got the last AJ Museum Collection patch from him in a PA mall.  There is one collector I trade with that lives near Baltimore proper and collects nothing but the Birds.  He had been sending me tons of oddballs and other items for several mailings in a row.  I said I was going to hook him up with his favorite player on a big mojo card or two.  Today I finally found what I was looking for.  I think he'll be pleased....

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cardboard Assimilations - May 21

Hit the monthly show in Maugansville again Sunday.  Only brought home a short stack, but the quality was amazing!

The first four are the Parker Brothers versions - some lineman with the double asterisks on back for a buck.  The rest are nice fresh 1974 Topps set hits.  Big Ben knocks that set down to Favre and Campbell.

Also got the ubiquotous handful of random Redskins cards and a bonus Bo.  There was a two row box of nothing but burgundy and gold that I could have just made an offer for, but it wasn't worth blowing my whole wad for, so I picked some sure things (I think).  Didn't have my 2009+ Redskins list with me, so I left a few in the box, like those bizarre Unparalleled, which are, ironically, parallels.

More Donruss current inserts like the last two posts - checked thoroughly for gloss this time.  And more shiny Redskins that hopefully aren't already there.

Then I hit some good vintage.  Killed some crucial wants to my 1972 and 1970 sets, including the ever-elusive Jim Northrup.  Don't know why he was so scarce, but 30¢ later, he was finally mine.  '70 high numbers in the two to four dollar sweet spot.  The '70 Rose is a little chewed on the top and stained on the back, but fits into my mid-grade set.  Nate Colbert is kinda rough too, but won't stand out in the binder page.  '72 Bench and Rose were bargains that will also blend right in.

In the same box as '72 Bench and Rose, I figured I might find one of these for a friend....


Friday, May 19, 2017

Trade Bait: 2014 Score Football

This is another graphically appealing but way too large set that I'm still toiling away at.  And another one that I've grabbed parallels without realizing it and ended up with trade fodder instead of list hits.

The biggest wrench in the machine is that Panini produced what is basically an entirely parallel product in the "Hot Rookies" set.  Which is really confusing since there is an insert set in the regular Score called Hot Rookies too.  Anyway, the HR set is really only different in the full foil logo that replaces the Score wordmark of the regular versions.  Allow me to illustrate....

So this is a regular "Franchise" insert.  It is the blue version.  There are Blue, Gold, Red, and - what I think is hobby only - Green versions of most of the insert sets.  The colors around the lettering of at least the insert name are what's different.  Notice the Score logo in the top left. Click for closer view.

Now here are my extra Hot Rookies blue version Franchise cards for trade.  You can see the only difference is the dang logo in the corner.  It's a full foil box instead of the "Score".  Real subtle when you're shuffling through a big pile of different inserts from a dealer's stock.  Three list hits that I don't get to cross off yet.

These are also blue versions of the Destination End Zone inserts.  I initially didn't think these were color paralleled, but they are.  And I did the gold versions.  Any AP collectors?  Two so far...

Behind the Numbers in red and blue.  I did the gold ones of these too.  Most of these are pack pulls of the wrong color.  I've seen some collector's trying to do all three (or four?) colors.  That's just too much.  I pick the one I think looks best or that I have the most of and run with that.  The blue on black are hard to read. 

Brothers In Arms.  The first group is two blues, five golds, and two reds, though it's hard to tell from the scan.  The Score logos are done in team colors, so just the side bars are the parallel color.  Two Hot Rookie versions here too.  They get the shiny treatment as well as the funky logo.  Rather an original concept for a team card or general insert in my opinion.

Here are two of the Hot Rookie inserts.  It's a huge insert set at fifty cards.  Kinda cool looking if you don't mind intrusive text graphics.  The other one shown here is a base card parallel - Artist's Proof.  There are seven parallel base sets, including the usual Score mainstays, Scorecards (shown next), Red Zone, Gold Zone, and newer End Zone, Gem Masters, and Showcase.  Printing Plates are listed with the parallels too, but to me they don't count.

ScoreCards with silver foil lettering that scans light blue.

And finally, a Numbers Game (one of the few not color paralleled), and full circle to a red Franchise Falcon Julio Jones.  Colors work well with that particular one.

Again, everything you see is up for trade.  Would love to get 2014 Score in return, but it isn't a requirement.  My needs at the time of writing are below.  Check my wants page as time goes by to see the updated listings.  Happy Trading!

2014 Score

   20 Pitta  80 Rodgers  111 KDavis  155 SRich  166 Cooper  235 Brady H100  272 Burfict H100 
284 Bowman H100  304 TSmith H100  314 Revis H100 

Behind the Numbers (Gold only) (BN) 1  2  3  4  5  7  9  10  11  12  14  16  18

Brothers In Arms (Blue only) (BA-) 2 ATL  4 BUF  8 CLE  22 NYJ  23 OAK  27 SF  28 SEA  32 WAS x2

Complete Players - (CP) 1  2  3  4  9  11  15  16  22  24

Destination End Zone (gold only) - (DE) HAVE  4  5  10  12      

Franchise (Blue only) - (F) HAVE  3  4  5  7  8  9  11  12  13  18  22 

Hot Rookies (the insert, not the set) - (HR) 1  2  3  4  5  7  15  26  27  34  36  45  46  47

Numbers Game - (NG) HAVE  1  3  9  10  16  20  23  25  27  28  29  31  32  33  38  45

Monday, May 15, 2017

To Coin A Phrase...

Each hobby has its jargon, or specialized terms for different things.  Sometimes they evolve over time, or are different in other regions of the country or the world.  Some come from common knowledge, and some from specific stories or events.

Everyone knows what "junk wax", "hot packs", and a "rainbow" is.  Some may not recognize "sticker dump", "Joe Collector", or "Bipping" unless they read the blogs or are into certain kinds of products.

I call the plastic pages that we store cards in binders with "sheets".  I know people that call them "sleeves".   The vendors call them "pages".

One of my most commonly used terms is "gremlins".  Gremlins usually crop up when I think I'm just about to finish a set.  I get the last few cards either from a dealer or a trade, and put them away.  Then I go through the set to verify all the numbers are there.  Inevitably, there are a couple still missing, even though my whole list has been crossed off.  How does this happen?  No one knows.  The gremlins have attacked and stolen a few cards!

Anyway, lately I've been thinking that there should be a term for what is essentially the opposite of gremlins.  If gremlins are cards that you crossed off but didn't get, what do you call the ones that you somehow didn't cross off, but you have already - but you don't know until you get them twice.  I do this almost just as much, especially with my player collections.  I check a card off my site, go to put it away, and there is already one in the binder.

It's like it snuck into my collection without me knowing it, like an illegal alien or something.  A covert agent that has infiltrated my organization. 

It's more than just a "duplicate".  This is a card you specifically sought out and obtained, and then already had - and you can't remember how it got there.  Regular dupes happen when you get stacks of singles, usually from the same product, and end up with several of the same ones.  Or two people simultaneously send you the same thing that you are looking for but don't have yet.

This is a little different scenario. 

But what do we call it?  Something like "Spy", "Stowaway", "Ninja".... I can't decide.

I put it to you, fellow collectors and bloggers.  Let's coin a term for it.  Cast your vote or make your suggestion in the comments.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Trade Bait: 2016 Donruss football

In my pursuit of sets, I obviously end up with extra stuff to trade, especially when I start with retail packages.  I used to put scans up on an old photobucket page, but this is easier.

My first featured set is the cool but humungous 2016 Donruss football.  As in baseball, they have taken elements of the 1990 design and incorporated team colors, as well as putting some other years' designs in the inserts.  There are parallels in Press Proofs and a few other sometimes serial numbered varieties.  Click on the pictures for larger views.

Let's start with the nicest and rarest.  Megan Fox Fans of the Game - not  serial numbered or anything, but hey, she's hot.  The back is right side up in this orientation, but I think it makes the front upside down.  (That discussion is a later post.)  Jim Plunkett ATGK Studio Series.  The first of many I grabbed and didn't notice the holofoil (which looks gold in real life), the Studio Series notation, or the s/n.  Anthony Barr foily purple Stat Line /68 pulled from packs.

 This is the back of the Aqueous Test Tony Romo.  The front looks just like the base card.  I think I pulled this one from retail packs too.  Had to get the regular base card later.

Really nice looking Gridiron Kings, and the All-Time GK's.

Blue Marino and Red Press Proof parallels.  I have no use for these unless they're Redskins.

Got lucky on these green Press Proof Rated Rookies when I pulled the Dak.  Don't have the regular one, though.  Hope to trade this one for one maybe.  I saw no greens when I searched eBay for Dak Donruss cards.  Don't know if that means they're common or rare.  Some other good rookies here too.

More green Press Proofs.  Some decent names at least.  Annoying to pull two of the same useless parallel though.

Now for the regular inserts.  I've finished these Peyton Manning tributes.  Bought some eBay lots of some inserts sets.  Really helped out a lot.

Some of those lots yielded extras, though.  Interesting concept on the Production Lines sets.  Finished the green Yardage ones pretty easily.  The others are tougher to find.  I like the All-Pros.

And finally, the '87 design retired players.  Love it when they emphasize the veterans.  Got a bunch of extras in the eBay lot.

So everything you see here is up for trade.  Email me at the link in the upper right corner if you're interested in something.  My wants for this set are on my page and will be continually updated there, but I'll list them here as they are right now.  Except maybe for the Prescott PP, I will trade any of the scanned stuff for just about anything else besides Donruss football from my wantlist, so I'm not limiting it to just this set.

2016 Donruss Football         Looking for all Redskins parallels
141 FDavis  238 ABrown  274 Martin  299 Riggins

Rated Rookies - 360 Cook  362 Prescott  368 Elliott  370 Brissett  372 Goff  386 MThomas  400 Fuller

'87 Classic - 7 Montana  8 Elway  19 Bo  20 Dorsett

All-Pros - HAVE  1  2  3  4  5  8  9  10  12  13  14  15  16  18               

Dominators (/999) - 4 Reed  35 Cousins                                    Elite Series (/999) - 8 Doctson 

Fans of the Game - 5 Monet  7 McDaniels

All-Time Gridiron Kings - HAVE  1  2  8  12  13  16  24  29  30          

Gridiron Kings - HAVE  7  17  22  24  25  27  36  39  40

Legends Series (/999) - 6 Bo                              League Leaders - 2 Marshall/Baldwin  15 Bortles/Eli

Legends of the Fall - 5 Brady  7 Elway  8 Brees  10 Allen  12 Harris  13 PManning  14 Favre  15 ESmith  18 Rice  21 Lewis  23 Warner

Pro Bowl Kings - need all                                             The Rookies (/999) - 20 Doctson

Production Line (Hits) - HAVE  1  2  3  4  5  6  8  9  10      (TDs) HAVE  1  6  7  9  11  12       

Top Targets - 6 Decker

Friday, May 12, 2017

NHL Playoffs Round 2 - Epic Fail

It is hard to be a Washington sports fan.

The Capitals had their opportunity and blew it.  They came back from being down 3-1 and seemed like they had figured things out.  Back home in DC for game 7 felt like the best scenario. 

What we got was more like the first two games.  A shutout.  Nothing.

And it didn't seem like there was a lot of bad calls or cheating or anything.  Just bad effort.

Another soul-crushing humiliation from Pittsburgh.  Same thing every time.  To commemorate the tradition, from now on they will be referred to as "The Black Team".

Go Senators.  But they probably don't have much chance either....

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Star Trek: The Retro Football Card Set - Card #8

Young Pavel Chekov makes his debut in the continuing series.  This one is based on the 1963 Post CFL design. They must be really rare because the eBay auctions I culled the pictures from were all $50 or more....

This is the first time I've had to really write a blurb about the character.  Usually that stuff is on the back, but these don't have backs.  Couldn't match the original font of the English text very well, but all the other titles are cobbled from the originals.  Nice part is, you can spell a lot of stuff with "Winnipeg Blue Bombers".  Only had to fabricate one or two letters for all of it, though I saved off about 8 different cards, mostly for the fancy name font.

I decided that the second language would obviously be Klingon.  And no, that is not a direct translation, it's just for looks.  Since there wasn't any use for uniform numbers, I figued I'd make it into the ship number.  It's just a little more crowded up top. 

Not sure who the next one will be.  I have a checklist card in progress, but at some point I'll have to switch to Next Generation characters so I can use newer designs.  I'm running out of old ones that are interesting and have some detail.  Most of the really old designs are just colors and basic text.

Taking requests!

Monday, May 08, 2017

The 30 Day Challenge in Five Posts or Less - Part IV: Conclusion

Well, my selections for the challenge haven't been real profound, but I hope they've been interesting.  I made it in less than five posts!  Here goes the last entries....

23.  An oddball from the 50's.

This Exhibit card is one of two I have in my vintage player collections.  I got this Keller at a National and that's the first time I had seen these oversize beauties.  They seem fairly easy to find in general, but there are much bigger names that I'm sure command quite a bit more effort.  Exhibits were produced over several years and have a great range of players.  Keller was part of the group of cards I got for my work's former budget director who is Charlie's nephew.  I got two of these and several other Keller cards at that convention, mostly in pairs so I could start my own batch.  These are simple, but just great.

24.  An oddball from the 60's.

Player collection strikes again with this cool regional Pirate issue.  That's the fun part about player collections - the oddballs.  These are big enough that they take four pocket sheets to store, but aren't tall enough to fill the whole slot.  Nice 60's font for the sponsor, and large color photo.  I added this scan to the TCDB on the fly too.

25.  An oddball from the 70's.

Almost went with a Topps '71 Greatest Moments until I saw these in my vintage oddball binder.  These are very thin, and must have been hand cut from something, as Tiant is significantly slimmer than the other five I have.  Love the colors, the double MLB sponsorship (hence the team logos), and the drawings.  The odd part is that the backs have blurbs about antique cars and sailing ships instead of baseball info.  They are titled the "Pee-Wee Pocket Library" as you can see by the logo in the lower right.  Put scans of all I had on TCDB too.  I still need the Fisk.

26.  An oddball from the 80's.

Ol' Charlie makes his second appearance.  Somebody's gonna think I'm a Yankee fan.  I got this by itself a while ago and it's his best depiction.  Just a great portrait and a bonus action shot.  This is TCMA 50 Years of Yankee All-Stars.  I found the better part of a set at that Clio shop last year.  They're still sitting on my sorting desk because I didn't have the right type of sheets to put them in.  They're a really odd size at 3" x 3 3/4".  All the big names are there, and a bunch of guys you wouldn't expect. 

27.  An oddball from the 90's or beyond. 

I painstakingly waded through the TCDB and picked out all the minor league coaching cards they had listed for all my player collection guys.  And of course, I keep finding out about more.  Almost nobody has minor league singles for sale or trade, but I hold out hope.  This is one I managed to find either on COMC or Sportlots or something, or it could have been Clio...  Anyway, it's really cool to see your favorite players in coaching positions, sometimes for completely different teams than they played for.

28.  A favorite relic or manu-relic.

Got this from a box of 2006 Artifacts along with a few other nice pieces when I bought a lot of boxes from an online dealer a while back.  Since we're not talking autographs in this challenge (???), this is probably my best pull.  I showed the back to illustrate how the text should be done.  Recent legal issues with fraud and questionable sources have contributed to the rampant vagueness of relic disclaimers these days.  Tell us who wore it, and whether it was in a real MLB game or not.  That's all.  Put an extra line if you have to that you may or may not be able to legally prove the previous statement, but you believe in good faith that it is true.

29.  A favorite card from before 1950 that you don't necessarily own.

My white whale.  'Nuff said.

30.  Your all-time favorite card in your collection.

Wow, this is the toughest one.

Is it the most valuable card I have?  Don't think so.  But Koufax's rookie IS nice.

Is it the shiniest, lowest-serial-numbered super rookie prospect MOJO HITZ hype card?  No, 'cuz none of that appeals to me.

Is it the oldest card I have?  My 1909 Giants team are some of the coolest, but they are only cool as far as old school vintage.  What about fancy printing technology, or my hometown teams, or 70's oddballs, or 1990's variations?  All that is just as appealing, without a lot of the prestige.

So is it the 1991 Topps Mark Whiten with his hand outside the border?  No.  1990's, even if really rare, could never beat vintage or really any other era.  They're from the 1990's.

So what is it?  My entire player collections?  The entire collection?  The next card I don't have yet?  Vintage cards with that fabulous musty smell?  Almost. (I do love that.)

Maybe it's my 2008 Topps Heritage Red Ink auto of Bill Mazeroski.  It's my favorite vintage design, plus a star player who's not really a hyped superstar (I like a lot of guys like that), and it's a rare pull that I don't often get.
That's got a few good things going for it, but it's not one of my favorite players or teams, and rare autos are way down on the list of priorities in my collecting.  A nice bonus, but not something I get the most enjoyment from.

I guess I really don't have an absolute favorite.  My collection is too vast and too varied to hone in on one single card that stands above all others.  You guys that collect just one team or one (or only a few) players probably have no problem picking a favorite...

But if I was to pick a card that exemplifies what I like best about the hobby, it's gotta be my 1973 Topps Brooks Robinson.  Not ANY '73 Brooks, but just the one I have.

It's a favorite team, and one of their legendary players.  It's vintage.  It's a cool action shot that looks like what I think of when someone says Brooks Robinson.  And it's autographed to me personally.  Brooks signed it and an 8 x 10 photo for me at a Crown gas station in my home town.  I hadn't been collecting for very long, and it was before autos and jerseys were even imagined by card companies.  Brooks was, and still is, just a really nice human being.

That's what the most important thing about this hobby is - the connections we make.  The searching, finding, obtaining, cataloging, storing, admiring, and completing are all fun, but the trading, buying and selling, and discussing cards with other people, plus meeting the players depicted is the time to be valued most.  That personal value of a card is what drives the hobby.  It's not the dollar value, it's that it reminds you of a time with your Dad, or your friends, or witnessing a great ball game at the stadium, or home on TV.  That real-life experience of family, friends, and heroes is the actual benefit of hoarding these little cardboard slices.  They are merely colored and pressed paper, but what they can represent to an individual is a wide range of memories, feelings, and happiness.  And there's no such thing as too much of that!

Friday, May 05, 2017

30 is done with '64!

Robert at $30 A Week Habit is doing a giveaway to celebrate his completion of the 1964 Topps set.

Comment on his post(s) showing the scanned set to get an entry.

And somebody smack the guy that's been hoarding these and jacking up the prices!

Be on the lookout for the one variation - with and without the apostrophe: